Liberal and Nationals Government launches main deployment phase of life saving satellite services for emergency communications

The Liberal and Nationals Government has today welcomed the launch of the main deployment phase of NBN Co’s satellite communications services, delivering a significant boost to emergency communications for communities and emergency service organisations.

Minister for Emergency Management and Regional Communications, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie, who attended and event at the NSW Fire Control Centre in Cowan to mark the occasion, said the government was committed to improving disaster resilience in communities.

“Communications are critical in our modern day, but are susceptible to disruption by floods, fires and other natural disasters. That’s why the Liberal and Nationals Government has invested in the $37.1 million Strengthening Telecommunications Against Natural Disasters, or STAND, program,” Minister McKenzie said.

“This satellite service is just one part of the broader program, which also includes investments in better battery redundancy for mobile networks, more temporary facilities and a communications program.

“It will be deployed to areas across Australia that were nominated by States and Territories. Often these are fire control centres or evacuations centres, so that people can stay connected when disaster strikes. 

“We know that telecommunications networks are not 100 per cent resilient to natural disaster and it’s critical that people do some preparation themselves, like having a portable AM radio in your emergency kit, keeping your phone charged, having a battery backup, and even having cash on hand and communicating to loved ones about your emergency plan and whereabouts.

“Nevertheless, satellite technology is uniquely placed to provide a high speed, redundant service, because it is not susceptible to damage to ground based connectivity, and will be a welcome investment by many communities.

“I would like to thank NBN Co for their work in getting this service delivered – it will make a significant difference to many people, including those in critical moments where being able to connect could save their lives and the lives of loved ones.”

Minister McKenzie said the Liberal and Nationals Government’s investment through STAND had already shown its value to many communities in a natural disaster situation through the NBN SkyMuster Satellite component of the program.

“This program has already shown its worth – as our nation was reeling with COVID-19, STAND SkyMuster Satellites were utilised in Cann River, Victoria with border crossings and served us well during floods earlier this year in Ingham, Queensland. 

“I welcome the main phase of the STAND deployment and would encourage communities and residents to work together to ensure they are well-prepared for any natural disasters or emergencies that might occur this holiday season.”

More information on what the Government is doing to strengthen telecommunications resilience is available on the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications’ website.


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